Contents Page 2, ‘Robert Burns, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, and the Mystery of the Master’s Apron’ This month’s cover story presents the evidence that Burns did not write the poem, “The Master’s Apron” and looks at a Masonic Apron he didn’t wear!
Page 9, ‘The Square.’ A look at what is a square.
Page 10, ‘The Edinburgh Defensive Band No.151.’ A short Historical sketch about this old Scottish Lodge.
Page 11, ‘The Masonic Encyclopaedia.’ This month we look at the letters, ‘X&Y’, from Xicrophagists to Yod.
Page 12, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’, “His Christmas”, the ninth in the series from Carl Claudy’s ‘Old Tiler Talks.’
Page 15, ‘Famous Freemasons.’ King James VI of Scotland.
Page 16, ‘The Lodge Night’. Is tonight the night you go to the Lodge!
Page 17, ‘Book Review’, Lodge 76 for DUMMIES!
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘The Masonic Activities of Robert Burns’ another look at Burns and Freemasonry’. [link]
Robert Burns, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, and the Mystery of the Master’s Apron. My subject for this 250th birthday anniversary of Robert Burns (17591796) was to be one of Burns’ most recited works in Masonic circles and one of the artifacts most associated with his memory – the poem “The Master’s Apron’, and his Masonic apron enshrined in the celebrated museum in Dumfries. I find myself doubly embarrassed with good reason, because I now believe neither the poem nor the apron are his. A spurious poem and spurious apron for the 250th birthday festivities, no matter how long famous both have been! If you are an active Mason, the chances are that you have heard “The Master’s Apron: on many occasions. I particularly recall an evening years ago at lodge with the well-known Masonic historian Allen Roberts when a new apprentice received his apron along with by a spirited rendition of the poem from a senior past master. Allen and I thought it would be interesting to know what had prompted the great poet’s lines. Finally getting to this research, I am sorry he is not with us; he would have vastly enjoyed the contretemps. A proposed revised status of the poem and apron do not take away from the enthusiasm that Burns had for Freemasonry, an enthusiasm which well suited his and Scotland’s liberalism at a time when: “Often associated with deism and sometimes with radicalism, Freemasonry was an important part of
social life.” The Masonic vision of universal brotherhood and freedom of belief profoundly influenced Burns, who joined at Tarbolton in 1781. He would be welcome as Masonry’s bard: “Masons also like poetry, having their own songs, odes and anthems.” Throughout his lifetime a remarkably many of Burns’ friends and supporters were fellow Masons. Why did the poem become so famous and travel around the world and, attributed to Burns, on hundreds of websites. The clothing of an initiate with an apron and the explanation of its symbolism is a highlight of Masonic rites. The verses are a perfect celebration of the event. “The Master’s Apron” is one of a group of very similar poems by Victorian amateur poets which compare the Mason’s apron favorably with the world’s greatest honors. These poems have common themes. D.W. Clements “The White Leather Apron” is a much recited piece: The white leather apron is more ancient by far than the eagles of Rome, a symbol of war, Or the fleece of pure gold, by emperors given, A rich decoration for which many have striven. Words in the secret ritual of initiation itself are echoed by these poems. They repeat the theme that no distinction can compare with the apron of a Master Mason. Likening the apron to the white robes worn by the Apostles, George Oliver wrote, “…Freemasons, when they invest a candidate with this distinguished badge of their profession, tell him that it is the most exalted dignity that can be conferred…”. The thought was to provide a light piece for the birthday gathering in Edinburgh, laced with anecdotes about the background of both the poem and the
Dumfries apron. I did notice that the poem was not in the two editions of his work that were produced in his lifetime, and given the fact that his Masonic friendships helped promote his poetry, wondered why he had not included it. But the poem appeared as by Burns in Marie Roberts’ British Poets and Secret Societies, relying partly on William Harvey’s Robert Burns as a Freemason, and I noted a similarity in sentiment to his ‘Jacobite’ poem “Is There for Honest Poverty”, echoing that ‘the ribband and star’ are not the honors of a real man. In Washington I thought I would find its place in the canon, because the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the United States headquarters houses the William R. Smith Collection of Burnsiana. William Robertson Smith (1828-1912) emigrated from Scotland to Washington, where he was superintendent of the National Botanical Garden, a 30th degree Scottish Rite Mason, and an indefatigable collector of Burns. He was helped financially in his collecting by Andrew Carnegie, who after Smith died was instrumental in seeing the books placed the Scottish Rite’s building. It includes editions of Burns published in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Ms. Larissa P. Watkins of the Supreme Council library has produced for the 250th anniversary an exhaustive bibliography of the Smith books. As I slogged through edition after edition, she gave me a knowing look: if it was not in the tableful that I had examined, it wasn’t in any eighteenth or nineteenthcentury edition of Burns. Now, it is no easy matter to say that a poem was by Burns or wasn’t. Burns
would dash off lines as a thank you for a book or even write on a window pane with a diamond. He collected Scotland’s folklore and recast old choruses and improved the lines for old tunes. He wrote pseudo anonymous verses, and bad verses as well as wonderful ones. The quality could be uneven, so to reject a poem as his because it is not of the best is dangerous. In fact, Burns wrote about his own work that some of the poems were “puerile and silly”. Worse, his papers were scattered and after his death the literary remains faced his executors with “an undigested chaos”. As early as 1801, the Glasgow bookseller Thomas Stewart produced Poems Ascribed to Robert Burns, the Ayrshire Bard, Not Contained in Any Edition of his Works Hitherto Published. When Adolphus Wagner contributed a preface to an 1835 Burns collection, he looked apprehensively towards a forthcoming rival edition from James Hogg that would have a reputed 180 previously unpublished poems, consoling himself that they were possibly “scraped together out of the poet’s refuse”. Burns reworked many old Scottish lyrics and “adopted several methods of song-collection.” He solicited his friends and would “touch up the rather feeble social verses which they sent”. So we have a picture of him “patching halfforgotten fragments of old songs and stimulating others to write for him” Since “The Master’s Apron” is a fiddle tune that was published as early as 1780 (by Robert Ross in A Choice Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dancse) Burns could have provided lyrics. Those who have edited collections of Burns have not had an easy time, as his output was prodigious and eclectic. For
the Penguin Classics edition, Carol McGuirk noted “often the poet changed the text to personalize it for the recipient …”. Debates over what to include in the Burns canon still goes on, recently fueled by the studies of Patrick Scott Hogg, who found unacknowledged poems supporting the refocusing on Burns as a social radical, which Hogg placed in the exhaustive if controversial Canongate Burns edition that he edited with Andrew Noble in 2001. Patrick Hogg kindly replied to my inquiries about the authenticity of the poem: “…I have just examined Kinsley's edition which has a Dubia section. The only Masonic work listed there is an interesting one called A Masonic Song, which I think somewhat cleverer than The Master Apron. It is always foolish to jump to any conclusion then have to repent at leisure when the evidence contradicts one's first intuitions. The meter, on examination, in my view is quite erratic even if it was meant to be a song. Burns would surely have used an alternating rhythm of 8 then 6 syllables in such a song. It begins 8 then 7 syllables: there is no example of Burns employing this I have found. Then it becomes 7,7,8,8,8,7. For the first verse to be four lines, then the remainder to be 6 lines, then end with a 5 line verse would suggest an amateur poetic hand. Such a meter in Burns's hand, especially for a song, would have been written to match a musical melody he had learned. The poem therefore cannot have been written for a fixed known musical tune I know of. Correct me if I am on the wrong track. It reads clumsily too. Burns had a natural flow of easy language for his songs that is distinctive. I know of no other use of the word 'suld' as found here. So, my instinctive,
intuitive reaction is that it is not his work. However, just because it is not good poetry does not mean it cannot be Burns's. He did write a lot of poor material too. The greatest of poet's do not always write in their best hand. I would guess it is a late 19th century composition. Even if there was a holograph Mss I would suspect that to be written by Antique Smith to pass it off as a work of Burns simply to suit the Masonic Movement. That said, I reserve the right to be wrong and will investigate it further for you as I am intrigued by it. …Burns's poem in the Kilmarnock edition, his Farewell to his fellow Mason's, is surely a far superior poem. Had The Mason's Apron surfaced from the original Currie collected Mss papers surely it would have appeared via one of the auctions in the 1860's or 1870's? Is there not an old fiddle tune called The Matron's Apron? Maybe it was composed by someone after they heard that old fiddle tune?” As we shall see, Patrick Hogg was right, and it is a late nineteenth century composition. And not a very good poem. ‘The Master’s Apron’, appears as by Burns in Vol. 4 of the British Masonic Miscellany: ‘The following poem on “The Mason’s Apron” appeared in The Freemason of October 18th, 1902, as one of Burns’, although it is not included in the poet’s published works.” Robert F. Gould, a major Masonic historian of the early 20th century, in his 1906 A Library of Freemasonry identified the poem as by Burns: “The following is from [Burns’] talented pen”. In 1916, The Builder, a prominent Masonic magazine also pronounced the poem as coming from “the talented pen” of Burns. Carson Smith, who is FSA
Scotland, dates the poem as 1786 and by Burns, in his essay “Scots and Freemasonry”, featured on the website of Lodge Royal Stirling No.76, -- which in 2009 is celebrating its 250th birthday as well. (fame at last..ed.) Lodge Burns Dundonald No.1759 in Tarbulton itself, sporting Burns’ birthdate as its number, is one of many lodges that feature the poem as by Burns and dating from 1786 on their web site. Some like Huguenot Lodge No.46 in New York State “update” what they think is Burns: “There’s many a badge that’s very grand; With ribbon, lace and tape on; Let kings and princes wear them all, Give me the Master’s apron!”. Unfortunately the authorship by Burns is constantly being reinforced by the Masons. Even research lodges have perpetuated the myth. How these attributions to Burns proliferate is shown by Alex Hall’s recent monograph on Masonic aprons which reproduces the poem as by Burns from the Grand Lodge of British Columbia website, but drops the caveat on the Grand Lodge site that the poem does not appear in collections. The Masonic Poets Society features the “Apron” in its Burns pages. Stephen Dafoe reproduces it as a Burns item in his collection of Masonic poems, Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part, and even adds an ‘English translation’. In the May 2009 issue of The Northern Light, which goes to all Scottish Rite Masons in the Northern Jurisdiction of the rite in the United States, there is an article by Jeffrey Croteau, the Masonic scholar and head of the library and archives of the Northern Jurisdiction, which cites “The Master’s Apron” by Burns as an example of his Masonic ties. The Grand Lodge of Iowa has had a booklet which it presented to candidates
of Masonic poems, including the alleged Burns poem. Not all Masons however have viewed the poem with respect: “I have always hated that ‘poem’ and its attribution to RB, even although a friend, who knew not what he was doing, bought and presented to me a beautiful laminated printed version of the "poem" when I was installed as Master of my Lodge a few years ago. I gritted my teeth and said thanks, and desisted from pointing out how awful the "poetry "was…The longer that this pathetic poem did the rounds of Masonic gatherings, appeared on napkins, was laminated into presentation pieces, given as the "party piece" at Masonic Harmonies and was recited at Burns Suppers in masonic lodges, the more credence it was being given and the more acceptance as being part of the canon…”. Strong evidence that it is not by Burns has been the refusal by many editors over the years to include the poem in collections. A new tool, web bulletin boards, have questioned its authenticity; in 1999 the General Triva Scotland list had a correspondence about the poem which noted that it was not by Burns. Albert Mackey (1807-1881), the great Victorian Masonic scholar, wrote extensively about Burns and Masonic poetry and never mentioned the poem. Nor does Dudley Wright in his comprehensive book Robert Burns and Freemasonry. There is ample evidence that the poem is not by Burns if one just looks. We live in a ‘Google age’ as vast reams of material are scanned, and a few minutes computer search is enough to demolish forever notions that the poem is by Burns. Original sources previously inaccessible are ours to plumb.
Immediately on asking about the poem on the web I received the following response: “PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:02 …As for the poem "Master's Apron"..... he never wrote this, and it does not appear in any anthology or volume. It does however, show up printed on the backs of Burns Supper programmes, on coasters at Masonic dinners etc. There are many Masons who genuinely believe that Burns wrote this bit of doggerel, but he definitely did not. – David Y” The poem was printed in an American periodical The Granite State Monthly in 1882 as by Henry Oakes Kent. (18341909) “Written as a sentiment at a public banquet of North Star and visiting lodges, at Lancaster…. It turns out that Kent was very proud of “The Apron”, and it is listed in his autobiography, in the Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire available on the web: “…his ballad ‘The Master’s Apron,’ widely known of Masons.” The lines appear as by Kent in 1902 in a much circulated fraternal humor book Goat Rides, Butts and Goat Hairs, which is still in print. Kent felt the call of the muse on many occasions. If he lacked poetic ability he did not lack industry. In the Genealogical and Family History we are told, “Colonel Kent has not confined his activity in literature entirely to prose, but has written some gems in verse that would be a credit to a poet of acknowledge reputation…”. His military service in the American Civil War and a successful legal career did not interfere with producing enough lines to earn pages in The Poets of New Hampshire in 1883, where his magnum opus on the hundredth anniversary of
the town of Lancaster is perhaps surpassed by his celebration of a child’s birth: When the bright autumn had gathered its harvest, Ripened and blest by the rays of the sun, Crowning our garner, with fruitage the fairest, Dear little Bernie’s existence begun. A not very high mountain in New Hampshire is named for him, but his moment in history was as an aide at Gettysburg to President Lincoln when Lincoln delivered the famous address, which Kent invariably noted in his Who’s Who entries. An unsuccessful candidate for Governor of New Hampshire, he was both a York and Scottish Rite Mason. He was active for many years in North Star Lodge in his town of Lancaster, Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, Grand Commander of the Knights Templar in New Hampshire, and presided over the founding of the Lodge of Perfection of the Scottish Rite (All the bodies in which he served are still in existence.) Contemporaries praised his geniality, presence, and “personal magnetism”. His “Burnsian imagery” in the poem reflects the great influence Burns had in America. When Andrew Jackson ran for President in 1828, supporters chorused Let auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind, and Jackson be our President And Adams left behind. The opinion of a Burns authority like Patrick Hogg about the poem as a poem remains paramount, because one could not rule out the extraordinarily remote possibility that Kent had seen a Burns fragment that remains lost. Kent’s authorship of course needs the same scrutiny as the supposed authorship by Burns. Professor Patrick Scott, who is custodian of the
remarkable Burns collection at the University of South Carolina, warns that the publication of the poem as by Kent is subject to certain strictures. Appropriation would not possibly seem plagiarism, for literary fastidiousness has varied by time and place. Recall Thomas De Quincey’s accusations of Coleridge’s plagiarism and the comments that followed by Professor James F. Ferrier in the pages of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. What if somewhere there is a gold watch with a Masonic dial that when its back springs open after a century reveals the lines of “The Master’s Apron” as written by Burns for a presentation? A correspondent wrote on the Burns Country Discussion Board, “Its style is wrong, it doesn’t scan, its wording is suspect…It’s doggerel, pure and simple.” If the poem is suspect, so possibly is the apron which is touring Britain as part of the BBC sponsored celebration of the 250th.lxiii It was not the gift to Burns of the composer and antiquarian Charles Kirpatrick Sharpe as sometimes reported. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe was a child when he was supposed to have given it to Burns. He was however a Freemason. Robert Cooper, Curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, informs me that the Grand Lodge of Scotland records show that Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe (1781-1851, became a Mason in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No.2 in 1816. (Sharpe appears as Sir Mungo Malagrowther in Sir Walter Scott’s The Fortunes of Nigel.) Now second thoughts about the apron’s provenance have been expressed in the Scottish press as a result of this paper being listed in the conference program: “Doubts about the authenticity of the
apron at present being shown around Scotland as being the genuine Masonic apron of Robert Burns are nothing new ("Row as authenticity of Burns's apron is called into question", The Herald, April 4). It does not surprise me in the slightest that Burns scholars are beginning to express doubt about its origins. The apron has long been attributed as having been presented to the Bard by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe. This attribution should have rung alarm bells before now. Sharpe was 11 years old in 1791 when the apron was allegedly presented, and 16 when Burns died. More probably if the apron was presented to Burns it was by Sharpe’s father, Charles Sharpe, but the gift has been attributed to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, who subsequently became famous in his own right in the field of the arts in Scotland. Quite why this discrepancy in dates should not have been noticed until comparatively recently, when it came to light during a discussion on the internet forum of the World Burns Federation, is a puzzle. But one thing is certain and that is that, whether or not the apron was ever in Burns' possession, he did not get it from C S Sharpe. The apron in the possession of the Grand Lodge of Scotland has far better provenance and should be considered to be the genuine article.” Partly the confusion has arisen has arisen because of some assuming that the apron belonged to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe and not to his father, Charles Sharpe of Hoddam. The better known son has been seized upon as the source of the apron. The father was born Charles Kirkpatrick, and he changed his named to Charles Sharpe when a relative, Mathew Sharpe, willed him the
Hoddam Estate in Dumfriesshire. He is usually referred to as Charles Sharpe of Hoddam. (Sometimes “Hotham”.) He could very well have presented the apron to Burns, if one accepts that it is genuine. The curators of the Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura in which the apron usually reposes has been very helpful and forthcoming in this discussion: Ms. Joanne Turner writes: “…Nothing is known of the apron until c.1840, when a Mr Heywood was in company with a gentleman from the Theatre in Whitehaven sometime around 1840. The gentleman had possession of the apron and gave it to Mr Heywood. Upon his death, Mr Heywood passed the apron on to his son, Mr Edwin Heywood. In 1860, Mr Edwin Heywood sold the apron for 5 [pounds] to a Mr James Dees, a dealer in Whitehaven. The letters from Mr Edwin Heywood to James Dees state that his father genuinely believed the apron to be authentic. (we have 4 letters from 1860). It came into the possession of the donor's brother, a Mr T H- who died in July 1990, through a female friend of the family who had been given it by her father The apron was presented to Burns by Charles Sharpe of Hoddam who was himself a musician and poet, as well as being Master of the Lodge and Provincial Grand Master of Dumfriesshire. The apron is described as being of: “...chamois leather, very fine, with figures of gold, some of them relieved with green, others with a dark red colour, while on the underside of the semi-circular part which is turned down at the top, is written in a bold fair hand - "Charles Sharpe of Hotham to Rabbie Burns, Dumfries Dec 12 1791 However, the authenticity of the apron has been
questioned because of the fact that the inscription refers to Burns as "Rabbie" and not "Robert". Burns was not generally referred to as "Rabbie" until a later date.” This must be compared with the remarks in The Burns Encyclopedia that Burns gave the actor Grant the apron which he had received from Sharpe, who in turn gave the apron to Edwin Holwell Heywood in 1810. In the world of important paintings, the appearance of a valuable canvas with no direct link to its alleged origins always causes difficulty. The debate which ensued after I voiced my initial doubts found “Rabbie” on an inscription to be suspect. Still, the inscription to Rabbie could have been added later. So we are marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns by talking about a poem that he didn’t write and an apron that he didn’t wear. While this appears disappointing, it emphasizes the purposes of the Edinburgh congresses, which are to promote a high level of scholarship. For many years Masonic “history” has been out of step with mainstream scholarship. Edinburgh has mightily advanced the cause of bringing Masonic research into the mainstream. We do have here in Edinburgh in the Grand Lodge for all of us to see today the apron that I am totally convinced he did wear. I think he would have vastly enjoyed the humor of it all, and give him a closing word, for in “To a Mouse,” which he certainly did write, he remarks famously in words all historians should take to heart: The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promised joy.
Still thou art blest, compared wi' me! The present only toucheth thee: But, oh! I backward cast my e'e On prospects drear! An' forward , tho' I canna see, I guess an' fear! Thank you for your hospitality, for your good humor, and for your tolerance! Paul Rich Edinburgh, May 30th, 2009 Lodge 76 thanks Bro. Rich for permission to use his Lecture, the full lecture along with endnotes can be downloaded from the following citation; Paul J. Rich. "Robert Burns, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, and the Mystery of the Masterâ€™s Apron" International Conference on the History of Freemasonry. Edinburgh, Scotland. May. 2009. Available at: http://works.bepress.com/paulrich/7
The square as an emblem is geometrical and not mechanical in its origin according to authorities, who trace it back to the ancient Egyptians, who in solemn processions carried the cubit of justice, by which perpendiculars, right
angles and squares might be laid our, its form being that of one arm of a square, with the inner end cut to an angle of 45 degrees.
"The close analogy between justice and that which is perfectly upright is so obvious as to have become universal. The terms 'an upright man' and a 'just man' are in nearly all languages synonymous, hence the scriptural phrases: 'The way of the just is uprightness; thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just;' 'He that walketh uprightly' and the admonition 'to walk uprightly before God and man.' Besides this, the square was used in Egypt to re-determine the boundaries of each man's possessions when, as frequently happened, the landmarks were swept away by the inundation of the Nile, thus recovering to every man his just rights. The Egyptian landmeasure itself was an aroura or a square, containing one hundred cubits.
"The square representing the fourth part of a circle, has a direct allusion to division of the ecliptic and celestial equator into four equal parts, indicative of the solstitial and equinoctial points, and the division of the year into four seasons. By it we are also enabled to divide the circle of the horizon into quadrants, and by the aid of the sun in the south to correctly mark out the four cardinal points of the compass. In not only geometry, but astronomy also, the use of the right angle is indispensible.
The Edinburgh Defensive Band Lodge No.151. The Lodge has been in existence since 1782; and as the Minute Books have all along been kept in a praiseworthy manner, and are still in the possession of the Lodge, there are ample means whereby a more lengthy history might be written, detailing the lives of many of the Brethren who were an honour to the Craft and to this Lodge in particular. In the year 1775 war was declared against America, then a colony of Great Britain: the colonists at that period having placed themselves in an attitude of hostility towards the Government and the colonial policy of the mother country. In order to subdue the insurrection and restore tranquillity in the colony, the Government immediately embarked several regiments, who proceeded to the scene of the action. A large fleet of vessels of war accompanied the expedition, the united efforts of which it was supposed, would soon put an end to the dissatisfaction which prevailed. The colonist on their part, however, defended themselves with a heroism and a gallantry worthy of the descendants of the British Empire. They armed themselves en masse, under the Generalship of Washington, and fitted our vessels of war to defend their coast, and annoy the Government of the other country by making descents upon the British coasts. The commanders whom they employed in their navy were men reputed to be brave and skilled in the nautical affairs; amongst them was the notorious Paul Jones, whose name and
prowess became a terror, especially to those who lived along the seaboard of the British Isles exempt from the general panic; its near proximity to Leith and the great wealth concentrated in the City at the time, made it, they thought, a prize worthy of the daring and desperate exploits of so famed a commander as Paul Jones. The citizens of Edinburgh accordingly, for their own protection, applied to the War Office for permission to raise a regiment of volunteers. They providing themselves with clothing while the Government would supply them with arms and ammunition. Authority for such a purpose was immediately granted, and the regiment was organised and consolidated under the designation of the “Edinburgh Defensive Band of Volunteers”. No sooner was this done than several hundreds joined the standard composed of the Bankers, Merchants and Professional gentlemen in the City. Their dress consisted of the cocked hat, light blue coat, faced and trimmed with orange (these being the colours of the City) with white breeches and black leggings. The regiment, which was under the command of the Lord Provost. kept up its efficiency during the whole period of the American War, until independence was ceded to the Colonists. At this time upwards of fifty of the regiment, in anticipation of the corps being disbanded, resolved, for the purpose of keeping up that Harmony and good will which existed amongst them, to apply to the Grand Lodge of the Ancient Order of Free Masons in Scotland to erect and constitute them into a Lodge of Free Masons, under the title and designation of the “Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the Edinburgh Defensive Band”, which
request was acceded to at the first Quarterly Communication thereafter, November 4th 1782. Certificates of commendation were also handed to the Grand Lodge from the R. W. Masters of the Lodge Canongate and Leith, Leith and Canongate, and the Lodge of Edinburgh St. Andrew; and on the 26th of the same month, being the Fourth Tuesday, the first monthly Meeting was held, when Brother William Nisbet Esq. of Dirleton, formerly Grand Master Mason of Scotland, attended and presented the Charter of Constitution to the Lodge. Having Installed R. W. Master Brother Andrew Crosbie Esq. and the other Office-bearers, he vacated the Chair to the R. W. M. who presided during the remainder of the evening. The meeting was a large one, there being deputations from almost every Lodge in the Province, who had met to testify their approval of the formation of the Lodge, and their goodwill for its prosperity. In the early part of the evening the regimental band was initiated, which for several years contributed to the Harmony of the Meetings. We may also mention that when the corps was disbanded, the colours of the regiment were presented to the Lodge, along with the Musket and Belts used by the first Apprentice (Brother McNiven), which articles are still in the possession of the Lodge. This excellent history was sourced for the website of The Defensive Band of Edinburgh No.151. If your Lodge would like to have its history published in the newsletter, please contact the editor.
The triangle with its three sides has played a great part. In the traditions of Asia, in the philosophy of Plato, in Christianity; indeed in all religions and all mysteries. It has ever been regarded as the image of the Supreme Being. Neither the line nor two lines can represent a perfect geometrical figure. But three lines, by their juncture, form a triangle, the first, the primal perfect figure. This is one reason why it serves to symbolize the Eternal Who, infinitely perfect in His nature, is as the creator, the first being, consequently the first perfection. There are three essential degrees in Masonry, three secret words of three syllables each. There are three grand masters. There are three principal officers of a lodge. This continual reproduction of the number three, of which I have given only a few instances, is not accidental nor without profound meaning. The same is to be found in all the ancient mysteries.
The Masonic Encyclopaedia
YEAR OF LIGHT
The Letter s‘X & Y’
Anno Lewis, in the Year of Light, is the epoch used in Masonic documents of the Symbolic Degrees. This era is calculated from the creation of the world, and is obtained by adding four thousand to the current year, on the supposition that Christ was born four thousand years after the creation of the world. But the chronology of Archbishop Usher, which has been adopted as the Bible chronology in the authorized version, places the birth of Christ in the year 4004 after the creation, the Grand Lodge of Scotland uses the year 4004.
Xicrophagists On the 24th of April, 1738, Pope Clement XII issued his Bull forbidding the practice of Freemasonry by the members of the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the Freemasons of Italy continued, however, to meet; but, for the purpose of escaping the temporal penalties of the Bull, which extended, in some cases, to the infliction of capital punishment, they changed their esoteric name, and called themselves Xerophagists. This is a compound of two Greek words signifying Eaters of dry food, and by it they alluded to an engagement into which they entered to abstain from the drinking of wine. They were, in fact, about the first temperance society on record. Thory says that a manuscript concerning them was contained in the collection of the Mother Lodge of the Philosophic Scottish Rite.
Yaveron Hanaim A significant word in the advanced Degrees. The French rituals explain it as meanings the passage of the River, and refer it to the crossing of the River Euphrates by the liberated Jewish captives on their return from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. It is, in its present form, a corruption of the Hebrew sentence, yavaru hamaim, which signifies they drill cross, or pass over, the avers," alluding to the streams lying between Babylon and Jerusalem, of which the Euphrates was the most important.
YELLOW JACKET Prichard says that in the early part of the eighteenth century the following formed a part of the Catechism: Have you seen your Master to-day? How was he Clothed? In a yellow jacket and a blue pair of breeches. And he explains it by saying that "the yellow jacket is the compasses, and the blue breeches the steel points."
YOD The Hebrew letter Is, equivalent in sound to I or Y. It is the initial letter of the word Jehovah, the Tetragrammaton, and hence was peculiarly sacred among the Talmudists. Basnage, while treating of the mysteries of the name Jehovah among the Jews, says of this letter: The yod in Jehovah is one of those things which eye hath not seen, but which has been concealed from all mankind. Its essence and matter are incomprehensible ; it is not lawful so much as to meditate upon it.
Next Month, Letter ‘Z’. 12
automobile and the chauffeur drove me to see Brother Fosdick and-"Whoa! You have a car and chauffeur?" demanded the New Brother. "Always on Christmas," grinned the Old Tiler. "Feel mighty important, too! But it's not mine, of course. A banker lends it to me." "Oh!"
His Christmas DID you have a happy Christmas?" inquired the New Brother in the anteroom. "Indeed, yes! Did you?" "Not particularly. Same old day, same old expense, same old gifts, same old thing," yawned the New Brother. "What did you do that made it happy?" "First thing I went to church," answered the Old Tiler. "Why, I didn't know you were a church goer!" The New Brother was surprised. "It is debatable," confessed the Old Tiler. "But on Christmas I like to go to church. Any-way, I had to see the rector. I had a turkey for someone who would need it. After church I got in the
"I couldn't get around without a car," explained the Old Tiler. "So Brother Vandeveer lends me his. I called on old Brother Fosdick. He hasn't been in lodge in ten years, but he doesn't know it. He thinks he was at the last meeting, and will be there the next. His mind isn't as clear as it was. He orders me to vote on this and how to do that, and is so important about it that he has a good time, thinking he is still a power in the lodge. It's not much of a Christmas present, but it's what he likes best." "Oh!" said the New Brother. "Then I was driven to the Masonic Home. Had some toys for some pets and never can deny myself the pleasure of giving them. " Pets?" "Pets is the word. Two children of a brother of this lodge." "Oh!" "We had a riotous time, the kiddies and I. They showed me their tree and all
their gifts and we played tag a while and they blew horns and it was real Christmas-like. It's a shame to take up so much of the children's time but I had a lot of fun and they were very kind, of course because I am old." "Is that it " said the New Brother. "The big kick came in the afternoon. I made a few calls on sick and housed brethren, and then went to dinner. After dinner we got in the car and went to the orphan asylum, and I had the time of my life. We must have given away five hundred dollars in toys and games and books and dolls." "You gave away five hundred dollars?" "No, we did. I didn't pay for them. I am poor. Brother Vandeveer paid for them. All I did was buy them and take them there in Brother Vandeveer's car. He went along because he likes to." "All you did was spend the money and distribute it and plan it. He just went along. I see," said the New Brother. "Yes, I'd pay for part of them, but that would take some of the joy from Vandeveer," the Old Tiler explained happily. "We had fun. Then we went back to Brother Vandcveer's home and he gave me a present-think of that! There it is!" The Old Tiler pointed to a handsome stick. "He's quite a wag, is Brother Vandeveer. He's already done so much for me, lending me the car and all. I had no present for him. I told him so. He said I had already given him Christmas, which was nonsense, because I hadn't given him anything. I
hardly know where the day went. But I had a real good time. That's what Christmas is for, isn't it?" "I always thought it was a day to get up late and laze around and stuff myself and go to bed disgusted," snapped the New Brother. "I think I'll try your scheme next time." "There's plenty of room for you in the car," answered the Old Tiler. "I'd love to have you and so would Brother Vandeveer. " "Oh" said thoughtfully.
This is the ninth article in this regular feature, â€˜The Old Tiler Talks,â€™ each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy
The Three Senses Of the five human senses, the three which are the most important in Masonic symbolism are Seeing, Hearing, and Feeling, because of their respective reference to certain modes of recognition, and because, by their use, Freemasons are enabled to practice that universal language the possession of which is the boast of the Order.
Famous Freemasons James VI of Scotland 'The wisest fool in Christendom'.
record of the Lodge, called "The Mutual Agreement" of 24 December, 1658, records that James was "entered Freemason and Fellowcraft of the Lodge of Scoon" on 15 April, 1601. The Contract or Mutual Agreement of 24 December, 1658,1 claims that on 15th April 1601 James was initiated by his own Royal Master Mason, John Mylne II, noting on page 45: "And his sone, Johne Milne being (after his fathers deceis—preferred to the said office, and Mr. off the said Lodge in the reigne of his majestie King James the Sixt of blessed memorie, Who, by the said second Johne Mylne, was (be the King’s own desire) entered ffrieman, measone, and fellow craft. And during all his lyftyme he mantayned the same as ane member of the Lodge off Scone...."
King of Scotland (1567-1625), and the first Stuart King of England (1603-25), English historians have tended to portray him as a coward and a fussy and foolish pedant: 'The wisest fool in Christendom'. In fact he was reasonably successful in his main goals, increasing national prosperity, maintaining peace with Europe and settling the church. Today, he is remembered for commissioning the so-called King James' Bible, or Authorized Version. On the west wall of the lodge hall used by Lodge Scoon and Perth No. 3 in Perth, Scotland can be found a mural depicting James VI kneeling at their altar at his initiation. The oldest existing
James also appointed William Schaw as Master of the Work and Warden General in 1583, with the commission of re-organising the masonic craft. In 1598, Schaw issued the first of his statutes, setting out the duties of masons to their lodge and to the public, imposing penalties for unsatisfactory work and inadequate safety practices. Schaw drew up a second statute in 1599 wherein the first veiled reference to the existence of esoteric knowledge within the craft of stone masonry can be found. This bio was sourced from freemasonry.bcy.ca Brethren, I’m always on the look out for items of interest for the Newsletter. If you have written an article, lecture etc, or have come across a piece that you might like to share, or even have an idea for something of interest that the Brethren might like, get in touch and leave the rest to me.
Lodge Night 1. He slowly opened the door to his locker. He hung his police uniform on the hooks and took out his suit. It was Lodge night. 2. He watched as the last employee left his business, locked the building and made the evening bank drop. He then headed off with a whistle on his lips and a spring in his step. It was Lodge night. 3. The young man helped his wife clear the table. He then said good night to his children and snuck into his room to change his clothes. Upon leaving he smiled at his wife and kissed her. It was Lodge night. 4. It had been a hard day. Navigating through the complexities of the legal system was rewarding work. It was also tiring. Normally he would have been headed home for a relaxing evening. But tonight was not normal and he felt none of the usual fatigue as tonight was Lodge night. 5. Life had not been pleasant since his wife died. His family lived far away and with each passing year it became harder and harder to do the simple things in life. And most of all he missed his life long partner. Tonight he felt a little less pain and life didn't seem nearly as bad. It was Lodge night. 6. The accident had been terrible. But there was some consolation that his
skills as a doctor had saved a life. Still it would not be easy and there were possibilities of complications. But for a while he could place his worries in the hands of others as tonight was Lodge night. 7. It is hard looking for work when the job market is scarce. Each day he faced the nameless horde of people who continue to tell him that he was not needed. He faced rejection and the possibility of hardship at every turn. Tonight he knew he was wanted and needed, it was Lodge night. 8. He sat alone in the small room wearing clothes that were not his. He had received warm welcomes from a number of men he didn't know and a few he did. Now with an ancient relic of a bygone age they told him to wait patiently, yet he looked forward to it with anticipation. It was his first Lodge night.
9. From all walks of life we come. We donate our time to an age honoured tradition. We donate our money to help those who cannot help themselves. We gather in fellowship and part in peace. For a while we can lay aside our differences and worries to bask in our shared experiences. We can talk with men who are our equals, men who work to better themselves. Tonight is Lodge night and I am glad I am a Mason!
Book Review Lodge Stirling 76 for DUMMIES
At last what the Masonic world has been waiting for, ‘Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No.76 for DUMMIES,’ the 2011 edition. Everything you have always wanted to know about Lodge Stirling Royal Arch but were too frightened to ask! This long awaited and well-researched book has been presented in an easy to understand format by the author, a self proclaimed expert on Lodge 76 and the City of Stirling and is a must for any gullible serious student of the Craft. ‘Lodge 76 for DUMMIES’ has been published and printed by the author and signed limited copies are available from firstname.lastname@example.org. The price of this must have book is £5.00 including p&p, with all proceeds going to the author’s favourite charity, the tennents and famous grouse fund. The author will also be at a signing session at the Installation evening of Lodge 76, see you there!
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.